Peaches, with their luscious and juicy texture, are a delightful fruit that embodies the essence of summer. Combining the rich flavors of peaches with a buttery and flaky crust, a peach crostata is a classic Italian dessert that your whole family will love. In this blog post, I’ll explore the art of making a mouthwatering peach crostata, along with a brief introduction to crostata itself. So, put on your apron, and let’s get started!
What is a Crostata?
Crostata, an Italian word meaning “crust,” is a traditional rustic dessert that originated in Italy. It is a free-form tart that showcases the natural beauty of seasonal fruits encased in a buttery pastry crust. Similar to a pie or a galette, a crostata offers a delectable balance between the sweetness of the fruit filling and the delicate crispness of the crust. The versatility of a crostata allows for various fruit fillings, including blueberries, pears, and cherries, creating endless possibilities for flavor combinations.
Why a Peach Crostata is a Must-Try Dessert
There are several reasons why peach crostata should be on your must-try dessert list. First, the natural sweetness of the peaches intensifies when baked, resulting in a burst of flavor in every bite. The flaky and buttery crostata crust provides a satisfying crunch that complements the juicy peach filling. Additionally, the rustic presentation of a crostata adds a charming touch to any table. Whether you’re hosting a summer gathering or simply indulging in a sweet treat for yourself, a peach crostata is sure to impress.
Other Crostata Variations
While peach crostata is undeniably delicious, don’t limit yourself to just one flavor. Crostata offers endless possibilities for experimentation and personalization. Here are a few crostata variations to inspire your culinary adventures:
Blueberry Crostata: Bursting with tangy sweetness, blueberry crostata is a delightful twist on the classic. Follow the same crostata crust recipe and substitute fresh blueberries for the peaches in the filling.
Crostata di Frutta: Crostata di frutta, meaning “fruit crostata” in Italian, allows you to showcase an assortment of seasonal fruits. Combine your favorite fruits like berries, peaches, apples, and pears to create a vibrant and enticing filling.
Pear Crostata: Juicy and fragrant pears make an excellent filling for crostata. Slice ripe pears and toss them with sugar, cinnamon, and a squeeze of lemon juice for an irresistible autumn-inspired crostata.
Cherry Crostata: Tart cherries lend a vibrant burst of flavor to a crostata. Toss pitted cherries with sugar and a hint of almond extract for a delightful twist on this classic dessert.
How to Make a Crostata Crust
The key to a perfect crostata lies in its crust. The crust should be tender, buttery, and flaky, providing a delicate contrast to the vibrant fruit filling. Here’s a simple crostata crust recipe that will elevate your peach crostata to new heights. This is the crust recipe I use for all of my pies, galettes, and crostatas:
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup cold water
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 cup ice
Make the crust:
Add the flour, salt, and sugar together in the food processor and pulse a few times. Add the butter pieces and pulse until the butter pieces are the size of peas; be careful not to over-blend.
Combine the water, cider vinegar, and ice in a large measuring cup or small bowl.
Add 2 tablespoons of the ice water mixture into the flour mixture, and pulse until it is fully incorporated. Add more of the ice water mixture, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time and pulse to mix until the dough comes together with some dry bits remaining.
Remove the dough to a cutting board. Squeeze and pinch with your fingertips to bring all the dough together, sprinkling dry bits with more small drops of the ice water mixture, if necessary, to combine.
Shape the dough into a flat disc, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight, to give the crust time to mellow. (Wrapped tightly, the dough can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 1 month.)
Peach Crostata Recipe
Now that we have our delightful crostata crust ready, let’s dive into creating the irresistible peach crostata itself. Here’s a step-by-step guide to crafting this heavenly treat:
Ingredients for the Peach Crostata:
Crostata crust (prepared as mentioned above)
5 peaches, halved, pitted, and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of cinnamon
Egg wash (1 egg, 1 tbsp water)
2 tablespoons turbinado or other coarse sugar
Preheat the oven to 425°. In a medium bowl, toss the peaches with the brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, a pinch of salt, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 12-inch round. Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Place the peaches with their juices in the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border all around. I chose to place my peaches in an overlapping round pattern to make it look a little more elevated, but this is optional.
Fold the edge of the dough up and over the peaches. Brush the dough with the egg wash and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar. Bake for about 30-40 minutes, until the crust is golden and the peaches are bubbling. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.
- Crostata crust (prepared as mentioned above)
- 5 peaches, halved, pitted, and sliced 1/2 inch thick
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of cinnamon
- Egg wash (1 egg, 1 tbsp water)
- 2 tablespoons turbinado or other coarse sugar
- Preheat the oven to 425°. In a medium bowl, toss the peaches with the brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, a pinch of salt, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 12-inch round. Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.
- Place the peaches with their juices in the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border all around. I chose to place my peaches in an overlapping round pattern to make it look a little more elevated, but this is optional.
- Fold the edge of the dough up and over the peaches. Brush the dough with the egg wash and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.
- Bake for about 30-40 minutes, until the crust is golden and the peaches are bubbling. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.
A peach crostata is a delightful dessert that celebrates the essence of summer with every bite. The combination of sweet and juicy peaches nestled in a buttery and flaky crust creates a symphony of flavors that will leave you craving for more. Don’t limit yourself to peaches alone—explore the world of crostatas with blueberries, pears, or cherries to discover new taste sensations. So, grab some fresh peaches, roll up your sleeves, and embark on a culinary adventure with this scrumptious peach crostata recipe!